I had the recent joy of going to an event in Birmingham. This is my experience. It wasn’t all good.
Before the event I was rung up by the event organisers to ensure that I was going. There were plenty of reminders about how to get there, to ensure that I had my ticket, etc. Great I thought. This is going to be excellent.
I arrive in Birmingham a day early, so that I can be settled in and refreshed. I know that the event is going to entail long days. We are expected to be there at 7:30am and won’t be let go until 8pm. The sessions have some really great speakers. I’m hoping to make loads of really great contacts.
The day arrives and I excitedly get to the venue in plenty of time. I have packed my bag with a nice lunch, I have plenty of business cards. I have taken my iPad so that I can type up some articles while I am there and take notes from the talks. I had my phone, a water bottle with water. So as to preserve my back and make it all easy, I pop it all in my backpack
I park up and walk to the bus stop to be taken to the venue… still very excited. I get off the bus and see the queue. How can this have happened? The queue is so long. Surely everyone will just be zapped in. I have my passport and ticket ready.
After about an hour, I get to the front of the queue and there are baggage restrictions. Why did no-one mention this before? I am told that I have to take the backpack to a baggage drop.
I have to ask three people where the baggage drop is.
After queuing there for about an hour, I find out that the baggage drop costs £10. In that time I could have popped it back in my car!
At least I met some nice people, including a contingent from Ireland who have all come over specially and all have backpacks. So I pay up and re-join the queue to get in. While in the queue, I talk to another few people and discover that there is no timetable of events. We are expected to sit in an auditorium all day and they will bring on the top speakers when they feel fit.
This was not what I had signed up for.
How simple to have let me know about the baggage restrictions, even the night before.
How easy to let me know about the charges.
Surely they knew when their speakers were going to speak.
This was not a small event. I estimate 2000 attendees were there.
I was having to manhandle my belongings around without a bag. There was nowhere to fill up my water. All my enthusiasm was turning to annoyance.
Early in the afternoon I went back to my hotel and chose not to return.
SMS messages after I had left..
Here are the SMS messages I received.
Great news! Bonus advanced training session with XXXXX tonight after XXXXX finishes-plus, we’ve got space for 200 Gold ticket holders to come down to the main floor for this session! First come, first served
What an amazing Day 1 at XX! Coming up: XXXXX + XXXXX -don’t miss it! Doors open at 7:30am and bonus session with XXXXXXXX starts at 8:00am. And don’t forget to enter our lucky draw!
Interested in the breakout session with XXXX or XXXXXXX? Head to the table beside the stage AFTER XXXXXXX’s session finishes and you’ll be directed from there!
Thanks for making XXXXXXX so stellar-you were an incredible audience! If you have a moment please review the event-it will help us serve you better in the future: xxx Make sure to keep an eye on your inbox for pictures of the event!
They had the infrastructure to warn about the baggage checks, but chose not to.
The messages kept on coming out on day 2 when I had not re-registered. It needed some joined up thinking.
Imagine if there were a better way.
Well, if you know when your attendees have attended, then you can send out one set of messages. If they haven’t you can send out a second set. In other words you can personalise the event based on people’s behaviour. Imagine how this would have made me feel.
Imagine if they had informed me about the baggage checks. I would have missed out on two hours of queuing. I would have been more understanding and grateful for being treated like an adult.
The running order had a lot of speakers that I knew I would not be interested in. If they had given me a timetable, I could have used those slots for networking and making connections. As it was, I was made to sit through everything.
Ticketing systems are great, but they need to be connected to your CRM to give a great customer journey.
Until next time.